Monday, November 29, 2010

unique holiday gifts

Let’s face it – most of us are crazy busy at this time of year! The demands on our time increase as the hol­i­days approach. I abjure the mall in favor of online shop­ping when­ever I can. But I don’t resort to the big-box stores online – I try to find unique gifts from small spe­cialty shops and artists. Here are a few I rec­om­mend whole-heartedly:

Kathe Fraga is a painter liv­ing in Wash­ing­ton whose work is evoca­tive of the walls in an old Parisian man­sion. Cre­ated with acrylic on fres­coed can­vas and fin­ished with lac­quer, her orig­i­nal pieces sug­gest a glimpse of a larger view. And now she has cre­ated a set of eight cards faith­fully repro­duc­ing a series of her paint­ings. These are the per­fect host­ess gift for some­one special!

orig­i­nal art­work by kathe fraga

kathe fraga's won­der­ful cards

Another intrigu­ing artist is Portland-based Cathie Joy Young. She is cur­rently show­ing at The Lit­tle Things Show at Guardino Gallery. Many beau­ti­ful small works are avail­able for gift-giving. Orig­i­nal art­work is such a per­sonal gift — and the small size pieces are afford­able where larger pieces might not be.  Cathie also has an Etsy shop and offers cards and more on Zaz­zle.

a small work by Cathie Joy Young

A lit­tle closer to home, Shan­dells in Miller­ton NY is per­haps best known for cus­tom lamps and lamp­shades.  But for the hol­i­day sea­son (and year round), Susan Schnei­der also cre­ates match­boxes, tis­sue boxes and more. In par­tic­u­lar, the match­box and can­dle sets (fea­tured in House Beau­ti­ful) are per­fect for teacher gifts and long-lasting host­ess gifts. Each box has a wood top cov­ered with a bold graphic paper that is decoupaged, and the cor­ners are fit­ted by hand with cop­per tape. Hand­made, beau­ti­ful and incred­i­bly use­ful – what could be better?

shan­dells can­dle and matches gift set

hun­dreds of match boxes to choose from! is a small hand­crafted soap and can­dle busi­ness located in cen­tral New Jer­sey. Whether you need cus­tom photo or logo soaps for spe­cial occa­sion, or sim­ple witty hol­i­day gifts, Ellen has what you need.  Their “Santa’s Coal Soap” was fea­tured in Real Sim­ple mag­a­zine and I know a few peo­ple who would love the Bacon Soap! Check out and more options at Etsy.

santa's coal soap

I hope you find the per­fect hol­i­day gifts for every­one on your list! And if you tweet, fol­low these great tweeps: @kathefraga, @ cathiejoyy­oung, @shandells @sweetsoaps.

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  1. […] This post was men­tioned on Twit­ter by cathie joy young and Cyn­thia­Ma­son­In­te­rior, Cyn­thia­Ma­son­In­te­rior. Cyn­thia­Ma­son­In­te­rior said: Happy hol­i­day shop­ping with these favorite tweeps @KatheFraga @cathiejoyyoung @shandells @sweetsoaps […]

  2. cjy says:

    Thank you Cyn­thia! I appre­ci­ate the plug very much.
    I've also blogged about buy­ing hand made for the holidays :

  3. susan says:

    Thank you so much for includ­ing my Match­box and Can­dle set. The sup­port and warth that goes on between the tweeps is amaz­ing. xoxoxo